Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bird's Eye View: Cardinals Season Preview

Each year, a group of us Cardinals bloggers puts together a newsletter that is e-mailed out before each series.  The bloggers take turns writing the newsletter, so you get a different style and viewpoint each time.

This year, we put together a season preview as well.  I did the writeup on the infield, while other bloggers discussed the lineup, outfield, bench, defense, starting pitching, bullpen, manager and front office.

Here's a sneak peak at my section:

The Cardinals infield underwent some significant changes over the winter, as the team looked to shore up its defense while also improving the offensive production from the shortstop position.  Here’s a position-by-position look at the Cards 2014 infield.

First Base
With the free agency departure of Carlos Beltran, Allen Craig moves to right field to replace him and Matt Adams steps into a full-time role at first base.  After hitting .284 with 17 homers in just 296 at bats, Cardinals fans are excited to see what numbers Adams can put up in a full season.

Second Base
The departure of David Freese caused the biggest shake-up, allowing Matt Carpenter to move to his natural third base position and opening the door for rookie Kolten Wong at second.  Wong didn’t hit much in his limited exposure to big league pitching last season (.153 in 59 at bats), but is a career .301/.365/.446 hitter in the minors.

Third Base
Matt Carpenter takes over at third for the departed Freese.  He hit .318/.392/.481 and finished 4th in the MVP voting last season.  His shift to third and the addition of Wong at second should greatly improve the Cardinals’ defense at those positions.

Obviously displeased with the offensive production they received from the shortstop position in 2013, which finished 13th in the league in OPS (.583), the Cardinals quickly addressed that issue in the offseason by signing Jhonny Peralta to a 4-year, $53 million contract.  While the Cards may lose a little bit defensively over the displaced Pete Kozma, Peralta, and his career .755 OPS, should make up for it offensively.

The Cardinals brought in second baseman Mark Ellis as an insurance policy for rookie Kolten Wong and holdovers Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma should back up the other positions.  The X factor is recently signed Cuban defector Aledmys Diaz.  Capable of playing second, third or short, he could replace Descalso or Kozma on the Cards bench when ready.
If you're interested in seeing the rest of the season preview as well as receiving the newsletter before each series, you can signup using the following link:
Thanks and Go Cards!

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